Report claims Long Lartin prisoners feel unsafe

By Gary Smee 12/01 Updated: 17/01 11:12

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ALMOST half of HMP Long Lartin's most vulnerable prisoners have said they do not feel safe in the maximum security jail.

The latest unannounced inspection of the South Littleton prison found 44 per cent of inmates in the four vulnerable wings were concerned about their safety with one of the reasons being the availability of drugs.

This compared to just 21 per cent of mainstream prisoners who felt unsafe.

In the report published this week Nick Hardwick, chief inspector of prisons, said the prison had sustained reasonably good outcomes for most prisoners in most areas and inspectors were pleased to find there were relatively few violent incidents, most prisoners on the vulnerable prisoner wings felt staff treated them with respect and health care was good and well organised.

But inspectors said they were also concerned the supervision of and efforts to address bullying and violent behaviour were not rigorous enough, the segregation unit had staff who often appeared disinterested and a grim exercise yard and the vulnerable prisoner wings had a night sanitation system which amounted to slopping out.

Mr Hardwick said: "For most prisoners, most of the time, Long Lartin provided a reasonably safe and decent environment with sufficient purposeful activity and work to reduce the risk that they would reoffend on their eventual release.

"Some aspects of the prison, such as health care, were very good. However other aspects – the segregation unit and slopping out – were unacceptably poor.

"The contrasts in the perceptions of vulnerable and mainstream prisoners were striking. The fears of vulnerable prisoners for their safety need to be taken seriously, understood and addressed, as do mainstream prisoners’ concerns about they way they are treated."

Michael Spurr, chief executive officer of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), said staff would be working hard to address the areas of concern."I am pleased the chief inspector recognises that the outcomes for prisoners at Long Lartin are reasonably good against the inspectorate's four criteria for a healthy prison: safety, respect, purposeful activity, and, the resettlement of prisoners,” he added.

"There is more to do and the Governor and his staff will continue to work on those areas highlighted for improvement in the report while balancing the need for a constructive regime for a very challenging population with the core priority of security.

"I do not agree that the sanitation arrangements are unacceptable. The system is designed so that prisoners have access to appropriate sanitation at night and should not have to routinely ‘slop out’."

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